Tenants have rights, responsibilities

“Most students who live off-campus complain about their landlord, their safety and the cleanliness of their rental unit. Before you sign a new lease this summer, protect yourself. You need to be aware of your rights as a tenant. Landlords can oftentimes take advantage of students because they are not familiar with the Ohio Revised Code’s provisions for landlord and tenant obligations and responsibilities.”

Most students who live off-campus complain about their landlord, their safety and the cleanliness of their rental unit.

Before you sign a new lease this summer, protect yourself. You need to be aware of your rights as a tenant.

Landlords can oftentimes take advantage of students because they are not familiar with the Ohio Revised Code’s provisions for landlord and tenant obligations and responsibilities.

The first step in protecting yourself is knowing the applicable rules.

Once you recognize the rules, you must keep a paper trail of everything. All complaints, discrepancies and notices must be mailed through certified mail so there is a record that the landlord has received them.

Most students assume that individual leases mean that they need only to care about themselves, but that is not the case. It is the tenant’s responsibility to inform the landlord of any and all instances of a roommate breaking the lease. Otherwise, all tenants become responsible for the results of their roommates.

Most students are poor enough as it is, so is it worth losing your security deposit for not knowing your own rights? And, no, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Fair Housing is a helpful way for students to understand the law and offers a hotline that allows representatives to counsel people on tenant/landlord issues.

The organization’s Web site lists the Ohio Revised Code, as well as resources for discriminatory issues, housing counseling and programs to educate the community.

Fair Housing is conveniently located close to campus at 441 Wolf Ledges in Akron.

Before you sign the lease for your next student housing, protect yourself. Visit www.fairhousingakron.org.

If you don’t look out for your rights, who will?